About the Author

About the Author and Commonweal

The Author

Michael Lerner, Ph.D., is President and founder of Commonweal. His interests include mind-body health, with a special interest in cancer; high-risk children and young people; and the architecture of an environmentally sustainable future. Lerner is the founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, described below. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1965 and his Ph.D. in political science from Yale in 1971. After serving as an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science at Yale Graduate School and Yale Medical School, Lerner was named a founding associate of the Carnegie Council on Children. He came to California in 1972 and in 1973 founded Full Circle, a residential treatment center for children with learning and behavioral disorders in Marin County. In 1976 he founded Commonweal. In 1983 he received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship for his contributions to public health, and in 1990 was named a United States-Japan Leadership Fellow. In 1988-90, he served as Special Consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment for its landmark study, Unconventional Cancer Treatments. He also serves as President of the Jenifer Altman Foundation.


Commonweal is a health and environmental research institute located in Bolinas, California. Founded in 1976, it has three major program interests: serving high-risk young people, their families, and the professionals who work with them; helping people with cancer, their families, and the professionals who work with them; and supporting movement toward a just and ecologically sustainable global future.

The major current programs related to cancer include: (1) the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, which conducts weeklong support and learning programs for people with cancer; (2) the Commonweal Cancer Project, which investigates informed choice in the integration of mainstream and complementary cancer therapies; and (3) the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness, which conducts training programs for health professionals interested in reclaiming access to the great traditions of healing in medical practice and health care.

For information on the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, please contact Waz Thomas, Intake Coordinator of the program.

For information on the Commonweal Cancer Project, please contact Mimi Mindel.

P.O. Box 316
Bolinas, California 94924